If I want to eat something vegan and tasty, a curry is my go-to dish. This potato and pea version is inspired – ie utterly inauthentic – by the warm flavours of India. My mother and stepfather have spent many winters exploring the temples of southern India on a shoestring budget. Now they know the best simple restaurants to eat at after long, slow train and bus journeys. A tray full of little vegan or vegetarian dishes is the best, sometimes only, option. They come back with banana leaves, which make such beautiful disposable plates, and lots and lots of packets of spices. For this curry I’ve gone with the three or four that I had in my cupboard (did I mention this is inauthentic?), already ground. Do crush the whole seeds in a pestle and mortar if you prefer. Serve this with naan or rice. Add some salad or raita and a dal for a more elaborate meal.
pea and potato curry
(serves 3 – 4)
1 kg waxy potatoes, boiled and cut into chunks
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp turmeric
2 bay leaves
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
5 cm ginger, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
70 gr tomato puree
100 ml water
100 ml almond milk
300 gr peas, fresh or defrosted, shelled weight
squeeze of lime or lemon juice
chilli powder and salt to taste
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan or wok. Add the potatoes and fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Add some salt and the turmeric and fry for another minute.
Tip the potatoes onto some kitchen paper to drain and clean the pan with some extra kitchen paper.
Heat the remaining oil to medium hot and add the onion, then turn down the heat and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat back up a little, add the ginger and garlic and fry for about a minute.
Add the remaining spices, and some salt and chilli to taste, and fry for another minute, stirring.
Add the tomato puree, water and almond milk. Stir thoroughly.
When the sauce begins to bubble, stir in the potatoes. Allow to bubble for a few minutes.
Add the peas and a good squeeze of lemon juice and stir through. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce has reduced to a paste and the peas are cooked.
Check for seasoning and serve.